By Jim Wilkerson
At the Ruston City Council meeting on Monday, Oct. 4, Andrew Halbrook of the Public Works Department announced that the City of Ruston has entered into a contract with Amethyst Construction to help finish phase 6 of the Ruston Downtown Revitalization project.
“This has been a long time coming,” Halbrook said. “I’m excited to finally see it completed.”
The Ruston Downtown Revitalization project started in former Mayor Dan Hollingsworth’s administration, and the initial planning for phase 6 began before Halbrook arrived. “I’ve been with the City of Ruston for about six-and-a-half years. I’ve been working on this project since my first day here,” he said.
The City and the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) have been working together on the project since its inception. Initially, phase 6 and phase 8 were supposed to be combined to expedite the project’s completion, but now the phases will be completed separately.
“DOTD said let’s merge the two projects,” Halbrook stated. “They wanted to get more blocks done.” However, it has been six years since the final plan of phase 6 was delivered to the DOTD, and only now are the City and the DOTD beginning construction.
Originally, the City and DOTD estimated that phase 6 would cost around $2.7M. However, that estimate has since changed. “Prices have obviously gone up, and they’ve gone up a lot,” Halbrook indicated. The projected total price for the project now stands at $4,831,519.
Phase 6 of the revitalization project will encompass seven of the following blocks: E. Park Ave.; W. Park Ave.; three blocks of Alabama Ave. between Bonner St. and Monroe St.; one block of E. Mississippi Ave. between Bonner St. and Vienna St.; and one block of N. Trenton St. between W. Georgia Ave. and W. Alabama Ave.
What citizens of Ruston will see is similar to what has been done to some other areas downtown. “In downtown Ruston, you’ll notice some new brick ledges, underground electricity, new sidewalks, new lighting, and trash receptors. That is what will be done in those seven blocks,” Halbrook explained.
The Journal will follow the developments of the Ruston Downtown Revitalization project as it progresses.
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